How to Interpret the Forecast Map
The following are important terms used when interpreting the forecast map.
Date and Time
The validation date and valid time are located in the box on the bottom left hand corner. The forecast map is issued by
10:00 MDT daily during the forest fire season and valid for 17:00 MDT.
The 500mb heights forecasted for the afternoon
The red long-dashed lines indicate the forecasted 500mb height field. This field is intended to give an idea of the movement
of the weather systems affecting the forecast zones. Other significant features such as upper ridges or troughs will be
mentioned in the synopsis.
The surface map features
The solid black lines indicate the surface pressure field at every 2mb interval. Circulations of low or high pressure are
also labeled as "L" or "H", while frontal boundaries are indicated with their corresponding symbols. Significant features
that impact fire weather operations are always mentioned in the AM synopsis.
Included for each forecast zone are:
- forecast maximum temperatures
- forecast minimum relative humidities
- type of precipitation
- wind speed with direction
These values are located in the small boxes located in each forecast zone. This data is taken directly from the AM forecast.
For questions about how to interpret the forecast map, contact the Weather Section at:
Updated: Mar 1, 2017